Product, Appraisal News; Upcoming Events; FHA/NHF/Sapphire Drama; SoFi, Altisource, Blackstone
In lender and regulator news, SoFi (Social Finance) is reportedly
close to raising $500 million in fresh funds from an investor group led by Silver Lake &
Bloomberg reported that during
an earnings call this week Blackstone
Mortgage Trust plans to expand construction loan business.
With plenty of undeployed equity at Blackstone, CEO Steve Plavin observed that
it is a challenging environment for banks to compete and there is still demand
from developers, and that BXMT has a unique opportunity. Banks "are not really
in it" and BXMT wants to fill void. He believes that higher rates can produce a
"very attractive ROI."
At the other end of the
spectrum shares of PHH Corp fell as much as 20% yesterday.
Apparently, investors are disappointed it did not announce a sale on the
investor/earnings conference call. KBW analyst Bose George says the earnings
call "raised concerns about future expenses and the timeline to capital
return" and wondered how much money PHH could lose over next couple of
years. From the company's perspective, it sees operating losses in its
servicing segment until it hits a break-even in 2018, profitability in 2019.
And another stock took a tumble
of over 20%. Headline earnings from Altisource Portfolio Solutions (ASPS
-22.2%) beat some forecasts, but the company suggests 2017 earnings will be
much less than previously forecast. This week Altisource also disclosed that the CFPB is
considering potential enforcement action over violations concerning certain
technology services provided to Ocwen Financial. "Our biggest concern
would be a compromising of the relationship between Ocwen and ASPS due to
regulatory action," says Piper Jaffray's bearish Kevin Barker.
Bloomberg's Matt Scully
writes, "Altisource Portfolio Solutions SA said the CFPB is weighing an
enforcement action over mortgage technology services that the company provided
to its former parent, Ocwen Financial Corp. Altisource received the warning in
November and responded in December that it doesn't believe an enforcement
action is warranted, per a securities filing Thursday. The matter involves an
alleged violation of federal law related to 'certain technology services
provided to Ocwen,' the company said. Altisource said it's 'committed to
resolving any potential concerns of the CFPB' and premature to estimate any
financial impact." Remember that Ocwen, a mortgage servicing giant, spun off
Altisource in 2009.
In FHA news, there is change afoot
with the National
Homebuyer Fund (NHF)
highlighting the maze of overlapping state vs. federal rules governing lenders.
Last Friday, FHA Headquarters staff started calling lenders to advise them of
FHA's concerns with the origination of loans using NHF programs. FHA has told
lenders that the issue pertains to questions about NHF's "not for profit"
status and its eligibility to offer down payment assistance programs.
Apparently in 20 counties in California, NHF is considered an instrument of the
Respected consulting firm Potomac Partners noted, "This issue
apparently stems from a HOC loan review that was then escalated to FHA Headquarters.
FHA's management reviewed the transaction and apparently concluded that
the NHF programs did not comply with the law (thereby precipitating the FHA
phone calls to lenders). We understand that NHF obtained a legal opinion from a
reputable law firm justifying their position, and NHF also sent an email to
lenders on Monday night."
NHF's email said, "It has come
to our attention that HUD has reached out to several NHF's client lenders
indicating that, under certain circumstances and depending upon the location of
the underlying property, NHF's DPA program loans may not be eligible for FHA
insurance. This is surprising and we disagree with HUD's position. We
are reviewing this issue with HUD cooperatively and will report back on our
Of course, any lender who
originates this product should contact their FHA or HUD office with questions
about the NHF program. Supposedly for loans in the pipeline, while FHA has told
lenders that they will not be "punitive", there is the risk of FHA requesting
indemnification if the loans are reviewed.
Lenders reacted. For example,
Freedom Financial's retail division was on top of it, and sent out, "The NHF
Sapphire program was suspended on February 15th. Freedom does not want this
suspension to affect borrowers in the active pipeline who need the Sapphire
grant money to close their loan. Sapphire loans currently in the pipeline with
an Encompass status of Initial Disclosures Finished or greater will be
permitted to close. These loans must be registered with NHF and locked by the
close of business Friday, February 17th. No new NHF registrations or locks will
be accepted after Friday, February 17th."
Mighty Capital Markets
one can reliably predict the future with precision. Any LO out there paying for
rate forecasts should save their money - they'd learn just as much from asking
the local used car dealer or contractor how business is. But there is a
growing consensus among bond traders that US
Treasury yields will experience a downswing before rising again. The prediction
could change if inflation forecasts of about 2% turn out to be wrong.
terms of the bond markets, which set interest rates, prices improved Thursday,
and agency MBS prices improved relative to Treasury prices. ThomsonReuters
observed that, "Of interest...as the noticeable shift in demand as 4.5% and 4%
saw much more buying than 3%, which remain one of the largest components of the
MBS Index." The 10-year note hit a low yield of 4.44% but closed at 4.45%
rallying almost .5 in price. The 5-year note and MBS prices improved about
.250, depending on coupon and security.
Leading Economic Indicators at 10AM ET there is no scheduled news today of any
consequence, and although there is no early close ahead of Monday's holiday
(the bond markets are closed) things could get quiet after lunch Eastern time. We find rates better this morning: the 10-year is at
2.40% and agency MBS prices better by .250 vs. last night.
Training & events of note?
Get referrals from Facebook without begging or annoying your friends and followers. Join National Mortgage Professional Magazine on Thursday, February 23 at 2PM EST for a 45-Minute complimentary webinar, presented by The TBWS Group, about getting Facebook referrals without upsetting friends and family. "How many loan officers do you know that can say Facebook is a critical referral source? Very few I bet. Yet, per State of Inbound Marketing, 42% of marketers report that Facebook is critical to their business. During this webinar you'll get proven strategies to get social media referrals without selling. Company compliance doesn't allow you to market on social media? That's OK...that'll be covered too. This might seem mind-boggling, but they'll even share with you how to get compliance revved up about social media marketing." Sign up for this complimentary webinar here.
"Don't miss next week's Dave Savage interview with LEIF BABIN a decorated former Navy SEAL officer and author of Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win. This is great leadership for loan officers and mortgage leaders. CLICK to sign up and be sure to watch with your team on Tuesday.
Also on Tuesday, February 21st, Mountain West Financial is providing a training webinar on Cyber Security tips.
Register for California MBA's FREE Legal Issues Committee webinar on February 21st.
Time is running out to register for the Georgia Real Estate Fraud Prevention and Awareness Coalition (GREFPAC) 2017 Annual Fraud Prevention Conference at the Cobb Galleria on Tuesday, March 7th. Representatives from HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FBI will be joining Rachel Dollar and others to provide the latest updates on fraud, fraud trends and ethics. "Get exposure to excellent speakers at a bargain price plus eligible CE and Ethics credits. Lunch is included and parking is free. Also, only a couple of sponsorship opportunities remain. Visit our website to register for the conference or become a sponsor."
Jobs and Announcements
In appraisal news, MyAMC, a nationwide valuation services provider that offers a full range of residential products, including origination appraisals, post-closing QC, compliance audit, and AVM, will appear at the at Ellie Mae Encompass Experience 2017 Conference, Booth #215, highlighting all their latest integration into the Ellie Mae suite of products. MyAMC's proprietary appraiser management software factors in distance, geographic competency, product competency, exclusionary lists, licensing status, and past performance - as well as Encompass Integration expanding the already feature-rich platform with current turn times provided by an Automated Pricing Engine and Robust QC customizable with lender's business rules, and more. At Experience 2017, the exclusive conference for mortgage industry professionals, MyAMC will be one of the exhibitors displaying their full range of products. The Ellie Mae Encompass Experience 2017 Conference will be held at Wynn Las Vegas March 6-8. Do not miss the chance to have a live session with their representatives. Contact: Roy McGregor VP of Sales.
Do you (or someone you work with) have mad skills with Encompass? A national independent mortgage lender is looking for a creative and collaborative Encompass Administrator who is also detail-oriented and can think quickly on his/her feet. As the job title implies, this person will be responsible for the development, management, and configuration of the company's loan origination system (LOS). The company requires at least one year advanced configuration and scripting experience with Encompass, and one year of end-user experience is also preferred. Fortunately, Encompass is commonly used in the industry. Other desired abilities include: product management experience, strong Microsoft Excel skills, VB.NET or C# programming experience, and at least one year experience with mortgage lending practices and processes. Please email me directly, including your resume, if you are interested in this position.
Green Bank is celebrating its 5th year in Warehouse Lending, and now is offering a correspondent channel. "2017 will bring fresh correspondent opportunities for hybrid 5&7 yr. IOs, the return of 80/20's and Non-QM, bolstered by the 'New Electronic Underwriting of Complex Tax Returns.' Introduction of these new products will provide an answer to a significant pent-up demand from buyers in need of these new types of products." To find out more on product and warehousing contact Stan Bomar -Director of Warehouse Finance at Green Bank.
In retail job news, Little Rock, AR based Bank of England Mortgage, a company that checks all the boxes for what top producers are looking for, is searching for individuals that want to take their career to the next level. "After a record setting 2016, we are seeking experienced regional managers in the Mid-West, Northeast and Texas areas to help us grow our existing branch network to new heights in 2017. If you have retail multi-branch recruiting and management experience, the customer service attitude of an account executive and desire to work for a progressive company committed to your success, please contact us today. (Bank of England Mortgage is a division of Bank of England, NMLS 418481. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender. Equal Opportunity Employer. It is the policy of the Company to provide equal employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, protected veteran or disabled status, or genetic information.)
Congrats to Tom Conklin! NewLeaf Wholesale has brought on the 35-year vet to lead the Sales Division in national growth and recruitment in expanding markets. "Tom's energy infused, relationship based approach of business cultivation breeds trust, motivation and high level results for Clients and Team Members alike." NewLeaf Wholesale is a division of Skyline Financial.